The recent back-to-back storms are hitting California's critical agricultural regions, and they may also impact the U.S. food supply.
Supervisor Luis Alejo from Monterey County said, "The pain is going to be prolonged for many weeks and months. This should have been the beginning of the harvest season."
The relentless rain is flooding crops, evacuating farmworker communities, and delaying the harvest season.
California is the Golden State of food production. It produces the majority of some specialty crops, like certain fruits and vegetables in the country.
Norm Groot from Monterey County Farm Bureau said, "In January's storm events, we had over 15,000 acres that were impacted by flooding and inundation with over $330 million dollars of farm losses."
Officials in hard-hit Monterey County said it's unclear when planting schedules will resume.
All the flooded farms and delayed harvests could lead to higher costs for consumers nationwide. That's if supplies tighten and produce distributors turn to Mexico or other regions to make up for shortages. Added costs will then be passed on to consumers.
According to officials, it's too early to fully assess the damage, but they are working to mitigate the long-term impact.
Groot said, "There will be more crop losses as areas that have not experienced flooding now are now experiencing it for the first time."
In Monterey County, the severe weather has forced farmworkers out of their homes and left them without jobs.
Supervisor Alejo said, "Most are low income, Latino farmworkers, many immigrants and this is the worst thing that could have happened to them at this time."
This is a blow to our nation's top crop producer.
Source - https://www.cbsnews.com